Kitchens and baths are always at the top of any homeowner’s renovation list. It seems there is nothing more personal than creating the space in which you cook and brush your teeth.
However, turning a spare bedroom or open loft space into a home office is a renovation project that is growing in popularity as more people work from home. A 1997 survey prepared for Telecommute America found at least 17 million Americans work from home.
And that doesn’t include people who just like to have a space to work from home occasionally or pay the bills.
But designers are watching these renovation trends and trying to accommodate them with products that meet the ever-changing needs of the American homeowner.
Furniture companies displayed their new innovations and spoke about how design trends are changing in and out of the home.
“Both the home and office are kind of coming closer together,” observed Herman Miller spokesperson Ray Kennedy. “A lot of the residential characteristics we might see in our home we’re also seeing integrated into the office environments today.”
Kennedy says offices are becoming more residential because people are tired of working so hard in a sterile, corporate environment. At the same time, home offices are becoming more professional, and more user-friendly, because we’re spending more time working from home.
“It’s because people want to feel comfortable,” he said. “A way to do that is to enhance the environments of our (offices) to make them more residential-like. So we feel more at home.”
Showing off the newest Herman Miller design, the award-winning Mirra chair, Kennedy said a large number of designers passing through thought it would be great for home offices they are creating for clients.
“Part of it is just because of the color choices that are available on the chair. There are so many combinations that it offers the consumers a lot more freedom and flexibility in their color choices,” he added.
Color is clearly back in vogue over at Poliform is an Italian company that makes sleek, modern furniture in a European style. The Varenna division creates colorful kitchens. The cabinets come in all sorts of colors, including nail-polish red, cool blue, white and even stainless steel.
But a new design has an Asian theme, with large, dark wood armoires that are freestanding. Inside, the armoire can be outfitted with shelving, so the piece can work as a pantry for storing plates, food or other kitchen necessities. But the pieces can also be outfitted for clothes and shoes and used in other parts of the house.
Gregory Herman, Midwest manager for Poliform, says the company believes the trend of using individual standalone pieces of furniture in the kitchen will continue. But it will also expand and these pieces will be used throughout the entire home.
“Poliform looks at the idea of an entire home rather than micro areas of the home. The entire concept of the home should show consistent design throughout the entire space,” he noted.
What if you don’t want to renovate your entire home at one time?
“We can start small. It might be with the kitchen unit and you add a matching dining room table and chairs. And in the future, when you’re renovating the bedroom, we’ll work with you on that part of it. We might go into your closet or entertainment center,” he said. “There are many areas we can address.”
Herman and Kennedy believe good design is timeless. The idea is if you renovate your kitchen this year and years later get around to redoing your closet or bedroom, you’ll like what you chose enough to match it.
To find out more about the Mirra Chair and other home office designs from Herman Miller, go to www.HermanMiller.com. For more information on Poliform, visit www.poliform.it.
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